Plans for US taxi giant Uber to open a Merseyside office is “another punch for Liverpool cabbies”.
Liverpool cabbies have vowed to fight moves by controversial ride-on-demand taxi app Uber to launch a new branch in Liverpool.
The US-based firm revolutionised the market in London since its launch in July 2012. Since then, it has expanded into Manchester and Leeds, making Liverpool the fourth city in the UK to be identified by the company as a suitable site for its operations. It already has a presence in 45 countries and more than 200 cities worldwide.
Uber is different from other black cab and private hire taxi services in that it works by customers downloading an app and entering their credit card information. It is now advertising for a general manager in Liverpool.
Liverpool Taxi Alliance have vowed to fight the move.
Uber has attracted controversy and been the subject of protests by established taxi firms, who accuse Uber of unfair business practices and compromising passenger safety.
Only last weekend, authorities in the Indian capital, Delhi, banned Uber after a driver allegedly raped a female passenger.
Jimmy Bradley, spokesman for the Liverpool Taxi Alliance – which supports the city’s black cab and private hire drivers, told the ECHO: “If Uber think they’re going to come here like they came into London, they’ve got another thing coming.
Mr Bradley added: “These drivers could be anyone. And this is an international company based in California taking money from loyal, local people.
“It’s just one punch after another, and we’re absolutely sick of it.
“I’ve spoken to private firms, and they’re suffering too. There’s a complete saturation of taxis in the city, and this is people who have been loyal to Liverpool and built up their companies over 25, 30 years.
“Joe Anderson has executive powers to deal with stuff like this, and they’re not being loyal to us.”
Just yesterday, the Spanish government also banned the controversial cab company, with a Madrid court ruling that fares charged by Uber drivers “constitutes unfair competition”.
As Uber began to advertise for a general manager for Liverpool yesterday, the Liverpool Taxi Alliance tweeted a link to the Uber job advertisement, saying: “Be worried! be very worried guys!”
The announcement comes as a further blow to Liverpool’s black cab drivers, after it was announced that Sefton-based taxi giant Delta is to take advantage of a relaxation in regulations and open up an office in the city centre.
Controversial Uber are synonymous with cheap fares, which passengers can order on a mobile phone app.
In India, a 26-year-old woman used the Uber smartphone app to book a taxi home on Friday night but said she was taken to a secluded area and raped.
Police say the driver confessed to the crime.
The Home Ministry wrote to state governments around the country saying: “Following the incident of a heinous crime, the government of Delhi has banned Uber to provide any transport related service in Delhi.”